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5.0 out of 5 stars A Soul Yearning To Be Free, May 27, 2008
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This review is from: Infidel (Paperback)
Ayaan Hirsi Ali's 'Infidel' evokes comparison with 'The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man', each an eloquent and painful story of a soul yearning to be free, striving to overcome the crushing oppression of totalitarian religion. Hirsi Ali was born into the clan-based culture of 1969 Somalia, a culture that values family and clan honor above all else, in which a daughter is esteemed for her submission to her father, as is a wife to her husband. The theme of submission runs deep in this book. (The word 'Islam' means 'submission'). The ideal woman is one who negates herself for the benefit of others, who passively accepts life inside the 'mental cage' as Hirsi Ali calls it. The brutal and traumatic violence that enforces this culture is described graphically: battered wives, young girls 'sewn shut', rape, 'honor' killings of unmarried women who become pregnant. And, as Hirsi Ali, points out, the tragedy is not limited to the female half of the population: women living in fear of violence in this life as well as of Islam's Hell in the next raise stunted children. But Hirsi Ali was able to survive and eventually flourish in the Netherlands. She gained Dutch citizenship and took up the cause of the rights of Muslim women as a member of parliament. But speaking the truth has cost her dearly: estrangement from her family, and the murder of her friend and collaborator Theo van Gogh, the Dutch filmmaker with whom she made a film about women and Islam. Her book, though, isn't angry. She simply wants others in the Muslim world to search for the truth, recognize it when they find it, and then speak it without fear.
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